Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Japan Confirms Oil From the Sanchi Is Washing Up On Its Beaches

Energy
Japan Confirms Oil From the Sanchi Is Washing Up On Its Beaches

By Andy Rowell

The Japanese Coast Guard has confirmed that the oil that is being washed up on islands in the south of the country is "highly likely" to have come from the stricken Iranian tanker, the Sanchi.


Samples of clumpy oil that washed up earlier this month on the shores of the Okinoerabu and Yoron islands chain "were found to be linked to the Sanchi's sinking" according to the Japanese Coast Guard. The islands are famous for their pristine beaches and seafood.

Thursday, a Coast Guard spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that "Oily matter that arrived at the shores of the two islands is extremely likely to be linked to the Sanchi tanker incident, considering the similarity of the oil and the fact that there has not been any marine disaster involving oil spill in the nearby sea area."

Earlier Friday, a coastguard spokesman Takuya Matsumoto said essentially the same thing to another news agency, AFP: "We are not aware of any other maritime accident in the region that resulted in oil leaks. So we have concluded that it is highly likely that the oil that reached (the two islands) is connected with Sanchi."

The Sanchi sank on Jan. 14 in the East China Sea, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil called condensate. It also had nearly 1,900 tons of bunker fuel oil on board. Two weeks after the Sanchi sank, black clumps of oily matter started washing up on the shores of Takarajima island. It is likely this oil is the heavy fuel oil that was powering the ship, not the condensate.

Since then oil debris has been found on 21 other islands that are part of a chain of islands that includes Amami-Oshima and Okinawa. Some 90 tonnes of oil debris has been collected so far.

The oil washing up on the beaches is a significant setback for the authorities who originally said last month that there was little chance the spill would reach the county's shores.

Although the majority of the fuel is believed to have evaporated after the stricken tanker caught fire, an oil slick is still visible close to where the Sanchi sank. It is currently believed to be 700 meters long and 20 meters wide, according to the Japanese Coast Guard.

The Japanese Coast Guard added that other reviews of water samples in the region have not shown elevated levels of contamination, although environmental groups are urging for further monitoring of the surrounding area.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less
A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less